Ducks Win Ugly In Exhibition Opener

Debuting six newcomers Wednesday night at Matt Knight Arena, the Oregon men appeared flat and uninspired, clawing their way to a clumsy 82-75 win over Division II Grand Canyon.

By all accounts, Oregon's exhibition opener was a flat out disappointment. Indeed, the Ducks came out with an 82-75 win in a tune up game which won't count towards the team's overall record, but other than that, there wasn't much for even the most diehard Duck to be fired up about.

For 40 minutes, the 6,271 in attendance stomached a macabre shooting performance by two teams who seemed undeniably unprepared for the upcoming season. For the game, Oregon shot 34.8 percent from the field, including 15.8 percent from three-point land. In fact, the Ducks didn't score their first three-point field goal until well in to the second half, finishing 3-of-19.

However, Oregon's shooting woes were far from the only thing that drew ire of head coach Dana Altman after the game. According Altman, the Ducks' overall effort on both ends of the floor lacked considerably.

"We didn't have the defensive intensity I would have liked," mused Altman. "I thought defensively we didn't talk very well, which enabled them to get some open threes and they shot almost 50 percent from three which gave them an advantage.

"Offensively, we took a lot of quick shots," continued Altman. "We didn't move the ball, guys were in a pretty big hurry to score...We have a lot guys who have confidence in themselves offensively and I want that, but we have to recognize what a good shot is and what a quick shot is."

In particular, true freshman guard Jabari Brown embodied the lack of rhythm and unsettled play of the Oregon offense. Oakland, California native struggled mightily with his typically reliable shot, going for 2-of-12 from the field and committing six turnovers, finishing with 10 points in his highly anticipated debut.

"He wanted to show everybody he could score and he took 12 shots and a lot of them weren't good," said Altman of his prized freshman's performance. "He's been out of practice with a hip pointer and he just didn't play very well. He's going to have to watch the film and make a lot of adjustments."

Brown was far from the only player who struggled Wednesday night though, as the team as whole lacked continuity as Altman looks to use the exhibition games to break in six newcomers to this year's squad.

One of the few bright spots for the Ducks was junior center Tony Woods, a 6'11'', 250 pound transfer from Wake Forest who, along with senior forward Tyrone Nared, imposed his will on backboards and in the paint.

"Tony goes 6-for-9 (from the field) and 6-for-8 inside," said Altman of Woods, who lead the Ducks in scoring, along with E.J. Singler, with 16 points and six rebounds.

"He showed a lot of toughness and he's big, he's going to be hard for people to guard. If he gets some confidence in his offense and we get him just a little bit more skillful with his jump hooks and his feet around the basket, Tony Woods has a chance to be really good."

Besides Woods, the aforementioned Nared was a rebounding and defensive force for the Ducks, grabbing 11 of the Ducks 52 rebounds while rejecting five of the team's 13 blocked shots.

As bad as the night was, Altman acknowledged that it's much too early in the season to jump to any sort of conclusions regarding his team. With that however, Oregon has one more exhibition game and only nine days between now and when they travel to Nashville on November 11 to take on the No. 7 ranked Vanderbilt Commodores.

"We have a lot of things to address," remarked Altman.

"Fortunately for us, we're going to have some time to work on things and it is early. Unfortunately, on the 11th, we play a really good basketball team and we don't have many days to get ready for them."

Oregon takes on Lewis and Clark at Matt Knight Arena in their final exhibition game Sunday, November 6. Tip-off is set for 3:00 p.m.

Follow Chris Courtney on Twitter at eDuckCCourtney

eDuck Top Stories